Mexican Pete, placed at Stratford and Market Rasen in the autumn, arguably has the best form over fences but is hardly improving at the age of 11. Platin Grounds was a useful hurdler in his heyday and will almost certainly have needed the run when pulled up at Huntingdon last month. But it remains to be seen if he'll ever recapture his best form, while Stripe me Blue has disappointed this season over timber and the fitting of blinkers seems like something of a last resort. MARAAFEQ is trying fences for the first time having struggled to make an impact over the smaller obstacles this term. This is his time of year and his stable is in the middle of a purple patch so he gets the vote on the basis he has more scope than his rivals.
Brimley 12-1 (11-9) Led until 5th, lost place 7th, weakened 3 out, tailed off, 7th of 11, well behind Constant Cupid (11-1) at Hereford 2m 6f nov hcp hdl 0-95 (5) sft in Jan.
Gentleman Anshan (IRE) 25-1 (11-0) Held up in rear, took keen hold, headway 11th, went 2nd 13th, every chnace 3 out, lost 2nd before 2 out, soon weakened, 7th of 10, 37l behind Sawpit Supreme (10-8) at Warwick 2m 4f hcp ch 0-110 (4) gs in Jan.
Maraafeq (USA) 16-1 (11-8) Tracked leaders, ridden after 3 out, soon weakened, 18th of 21, 21l behind Sparrow Hills (10-11) at Wincanton 2m 6f hcp hdl 0-125 (3) sft in Jan.
Mexican Pete 40-1 (11-10) Held up mid-division, headway approaching 10th, chased leaders 5 out, ridden before 4 out, weakened from 3 out, 6th of 11, 25l behind Mostly Bob (11-12) at Doncaster 3m nov hcp chs (0-125) (3) gd in Jan.
Platin Grounds (GER) 6-1 (10-12) Tracked leaders, lost touch after 3 out, well behind in tired 3rd when pulled up before 2 out, in a race won by Mr Gardner (10-12) at Huntingdon 2m 4f nov chs (3) sft in Jan, 4 ran.
Stripe Me Blue 22-1 (10-8) Always in rear, 12th of 14, 36l behind Numide (11-2) at Ffos Las 2m 4f hcp hdl 0-130 (3) sft in Jan.
The Humbel Monk (IRE) 80-1 (11-5) Took keen hold, led until fell 2nd, in a race won by Doctor Foxtrot (11-5) at Ffos Las 2m 4f mdn hdl (4) sft in Jan, 12 ran.